The Racial Contract

Topics: Racism, Race and Ethnicity, White people Pages: 3 (1029 words) Published: April 2, 2005
In The Racial Contract, it is argued that contemporary structures of white domination in the United States operate by means of an epistemology of ignorance for white people. White people inadvertently suffer from cognitive dysfunctions such that they cannot understand the racially (and racistly) structured world in which they live and, indeed, helped create. For Mills, while no person of any race is self-transparent, becoming a white person entails a particularly extreme form of self-opacity regarding issues of race that corresponds with a conspicuously bad or offensive misunderstanding of the world. Recently with the invasion of Iraq, the president has proven that white people believe that they are correct when that in any given conflict it must quell the conflict through force rather than understanding of the predicament. It must be astonishing to a lot of white Bush supporters to learn that the horrible conditions in Iraq would only be made worse when a foreign country whose leader represents Christian ideals (which aren't the prevailing consensus in Iraq), believes that Iraqis people need another conflicting force in a country ravaged by extreme racism. Because of the racialized moral psychology created by the racial contract, white people are ironically often unable to see race and racism. Although Mills does not make use of psychoanalysis, his work suggests both how and why psychoanalytic theory can be of help to critical race theory's project of examining race for the purpose of challenging racism and white privilege. While the white cognitive dysfunction described by Mills sometimes operates preconsciously, his concept of the epistemology of ignorance also points to the vast pools of human thought inaccessible to consciousness, and thus unconscious. This refers not to a mere gap or empty space; rather, it is something that is actively, dynamically produced, and which stubbornly maintains its existence. This means that as unconscious entity, racism's...
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